SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) - While Lake Michigan water at one city beach was deemed clean enough for human contact on Friday, it was still considered unsafe at the city's busiest beach, which is just across a narrow channel.
The city closed both the North and South beaches on Thursday after tests at both found high levels of E. coli, a bacteria that can cause flu-like symptoms.
City officials said South Beach's no-contact order remained in effect Friday after follow-up tests showed continued high E. coli levels. It will remain until at least Tuesday, when county health officials will test the water again.
But North Beach, which is across the Black River channel from South Beach, reopened Friday after follow-up tests showed the water there was safe.
Some visitors at South Beach, while well aware that the water there was still unsafe, said they wish they had known that North Beach advisory was lifted.
"We would have gone over there instead of here, because we can't go in the water here," said 12-year-old Kathleen Double, who visited South Beach with her family from Jackson. "There's nothing really fun at the beach when you can't go in the water."
She played in South Beach's water anyway, not far from the no-contact signs.
"Just washing off my hands for a second," she said. "Once we're going home, I'm going to take a shower to get all this stuff off my skin."
Jill Ridenour and her two children from Iowa showed up Thursday at North Beach for vacation.
"It's a little heartbreaking for the kids, but they said they can dig in the sand anyhow and make it work," she said.
Rideneour watched Friday as a city worker ripped down a no-contact sign at North Beach.
"God bless you," she told the worker. "It's going to make my kids' day."
Thursday's no-contact order was the first since 2010, but city officials said it's not caused by human sewage.
They said 2.5 inches of rain earlier in the week likely carried manure used as fertilizer from farm fields along the Black River and into Lake Michigan.
Strong winds pushed most of the bad water far out into Lake Michigan -- enough to open the North Beach, officials said.
"Unfortunately, not enough current affected the South Beach to push the water away," City Manager Brian Dissette said.
The CDC on E. coli
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